King of Dads
One of many Fathers of the Year, dedicated to helping the cause.
The employees of King's Seafood Company, Inc.—a chain of nearly 20 restaurants in Southern California, Arizona, and Nevada—know all about Sam King's professional achievements as president and CEO. Industry leaders and environmentalists have recognized his efforts as cofounder of the Sustainable Seafood Forum; athletes at the University of Southern California benefit from the work he's done on the Board of Counselors for the USC athletic department. But the accomplishments the American Diabetes Association wants to recognize him for this year are a little different: attending parent-teacher conferences, driving his kids to school, and helping out with the high school wrestling team.
On May 29, in Irvine, Calif., King was honored as a 2008 Father of the Year by the Father's Day Council of Orange County, the National Father's Day Council, and ADA for his dedication as a parent and how he balances his family priorities with his community involvement and professional endeavors. He joined three other honorees in his area—William Claster, Richard Baker, and Jim Turner—as well as nearly 100 other Fathers of the Year who were recognized in 20 different cities across the country in May and June.
What makes King Father of the Year in the eyes of Jan, wife of nearly 28 years; sons Michael, 19, and Stephen, 14; and daughter K.C., 8?
"He's a great leader, and everything he does, he does 110 percent," says Michael. "For me, he's always been really supportive. In high school I wrestled. I can count on one hand how many times he missed a match."
The National Father's Day Council has been celebrating the accomplishments of fathers at home and at work since 1942, combining recognition of the importance of the father's role in the home with fundraising for various charitable causes. The Father's Day Council joined forces with ADA seven years ago. "In the five years we've participated [in Santa Ana], we've raised close to $1 million," says Stacey Proctor, executive director at the local ADA office there. Honorees utilize their professional contacts to raise money for the cause, which, says Proctor, "helps us connect to business people we might not otherwise connect with. It really opens doors for us and ultimately, helps us to advance our efforts in the fight against diabetes."
Meanwhile, King gets to share his advice for taking care of children: "You basically need to make them a priority," he says. "Attend as many of the kids' conferences and events as you can. Take your kids to school, if you get the chance to. The real depth is in the everyday things—talking to them, directing them, and keeping them from hitting the potholes of life."
Father's Day Icons
Previous honorees of the National Father's Day Council include:
2007 John Edwards* Hulk Hogan*
2005 Larry King* Donald Trump*
2004 Tommy Lasorda* Richard Petty*
2002 Michael Bloomberg*
2001 George Foreman*
1997 Mario Andretti Wolf Blitzer
1995 Tim Russert
1992 Colin Powell
1988 Arthur Ashe
1987 Rudolph Giuliani
1984 Albert Gore Peter Jennings
1978 Tom Brokaw
1970 Jack Nicklaus
1967 Dick Van Dyke
1965 Sammy Davis, Jr.
1964 Yogi Berra
1963 Henry Fonda John F. Kennedy
1958 Walter Cronkite
1957 Ronald Reagan
1952 Humphrey Bogart
1951 James Stewart
1949 James Sullivan
1946 Frank Sinatra
*Also honored by ADA